The recent death of Paul Mellon was recorded in headlines and lengthy obituaries normally reserved for heads of state. One of the great philanthropists of our time, he was estimated to have given away the major portion of the vast fortune he inherited from his father. By the time of his death, he had given away more than a billion dollars, and had established and endowed museums, national parks, and cultural institutions of all kinds. He left a legacy that will truly live on for uncounted generations.
Although most of us are not rich, we too, can leave a legacy to the generations that follow us, by giving others a life-changing example for them to follow. There are people who have left this world but nonetheless live on in the lasting impact they have made on others. I acknowledge with gratitude the godly influence of my parents and grandparents who were models of genuine faith and who inspired in me a love of the church. Even though they are long gone, I continue to share with others the wonderful truths that they passed on to me.
Most of us are not destined to inherit vast wealth or to be blessed with unique gifts that lead to greatness. But we are, nonetheless, each endowed with the priceless opportunity to profoundly affect others for the good. We can each do our very best to live in such a way that the effect of our work, faith, and witness continues on after we are long gone. We can do this by demonstrating to others the reality of God, and the joy of being committed Christians. In this way, the next generation, through God’s grace, will come to know the lasting power of our life.
When St. Paul commended the faithfulness of his beloved disciple Timothy, he could not help but call to remembrance those who had planted that gift in his young heart. In writing to Timothy, be said, “I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had.” (II Tim. 1:5). Let us strive to live so that our memory will be commemorated in this same way. Let that be our legacy.